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We are pretty much just waiting for Sproggle to appear now. It feels like the longest wait ever. There is nothing left to tidy in the house and since it is the weekend and the Xbox is being used by daddy to be, knitting was in order. Sproggle has so many clothes already so this waiting called for something else. Mochimochi land patterns for Lucky Stars, tiny planets and tiny rocket provided the hanging bits and yarn yard silk thread covered an embroidery hoop to hold it all. I’m pretty pleased with it, especially since it used leftover yarns which wouldn’t have been good for anything else and only took a few days. With lots of naps between 🙂

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Another installment of gift ideas for knitters! This one focuses on patterns.

Mochimochi Land (http://mochimochiland.com/shop/)

Some of the mochi mochi patterns I have made in the past

An online shop and blog from New York. Probably some of the cutest toy patterns around, they are based on the idea of amigurumi. This is basically cute knitting at a small or tiny size, but some of the mochimochi patterns are a lot bigger. The toys aren’t traditional knitting subjects like teddy bears or rabbits but odd monsters, tiny vikings and squirrels on roller skates. Awesome! Individual patterns cost from $3 to $7 which works out pretty good for us UK knitters with the current exchange rate. Books are also available through the site, but since US to UK shipping is extortionate you are better going through amazon or waterstones. Some books are even available on kindle, which is nice and handy as a portable pattern!

Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/knitting)

Ravelry has a lot to answer for, in a good way. If you are a knitter then you probably already know about it, if you don’t then go pay it a visit! Free, easy to use and with more knitting patterns and knowledge than you could ever need. You need a log in to use it, so maybe more one for knitters buying for other knitters. It has thousands of free patterns but if you really want to make a knitters day and they are on Ravelry, then check out if they have any patterns in their wish list, queue, favourites or shopping basket that you could buy for them. Many start from just £1 and the recipient will usually get pdf files sent to them, although some patterns are also available in hard copy if you like to wrap things!

Ysolda (http://ysolda.com/patterns/)

Some Ysolda patterns I have made in the past.

Bit biased here, since I’m sure there are lots of other Scottish designers who have lovely patterns too. But I haven’t knitted any of them, and I have made up some of these Ysolda ones. If you are looking for a gift for someone who likes to knit pretty lace, simple toys in the round or cosy cabled jumpers then there are some good options here.

Amazon would also be a good place to look, if you know the username of the person you want to buy for, since the wishlist feature can be very useful.

Some other tips, if you can, would be to check whether the person you are buying for has knitting preferences for patterns. These can include things like:

  • do they prefer knitting in the round or flat? Some patterns can be lovely but if they never knit in the round they might never use them and vice versa!
  • do they have a particular favourite yarn weight? It’s no use buying lovely lace shawl patterns if they only ever knit in chunky aran weight.
  • will the pattern you intend on buying mean that they might need other accessories? For example, more stitch markers or a certain size of needle.

For those starting Christmas preparations early, and have a knitter in your life, you could always have a peek here – (http://yarnpony.wordpress.com/). The lovely yarn isn’t for sale yet but if you look here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaela-and-richard/sets/72157627078936207/with/8071781635/) you can see what will be up for sale soon. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of this yarn when it was being tested and the colours are just awesome!

I’ll be posting more gift ideas for knitterly types in the coming weeks (hint hint my friends), as well as a list for xbox lovers too.

Connuing with the monthly knitting round up, here goes:
6 projects started, 5 completed – of those completed 1 was an unintentional gift (didn’t fit me!) 1 was for me and 3 are baby things. The surprise gift can’t have photo here yet, in case it gets spied on 🙂

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If you are on Ravelry, the year in knitting so far can be found here.

So I’ve just about managed to do more knitting for me than anyone else this month! Hooray! The plan for March is socks and lace work so wish me luck!

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This year I plan on doing a monthly knitting round up, so here goes: 8 projects started, 7 completed – of those completed 6 of these were gifts, 1 is for stashing away. If you are on Ravelry, theset can be found here. That many gifts makes me realise February should be more about knitting …

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The knitting group I have been going to since moving back to Edinburgh has had to find a new home – sadly, the Tea Tree Cafe on Bread Street shut down this week.

I first starting going to the TT when I found the group on Ravelry in about April 2010 (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/tea-tree-tea-knitters). I can’t recommend Ravelry enough for just beign awesome. It’s free to join, has a database of around 192,674 knitting patterns, and around 67,845 yarns. as well as a huge international community of knitters of all ages and abilities. It’s like Facebook for knitters but a hell of a lot better. You can add projects to your profile, link it to the pattern apge, link it to the yarn page and see who else has made the item. and how they did it and what they used. Properly inspirational and easy to use.

The technology behind the site is pretty impressive too, geeks and anyone else interested can find a summary here: http://codemonkey.ravelry.com/2011/02/12/ravelry-in-bullet-points/. Impressive in that the whole thing is run by a team of around 3 people. I like that. It’s homey and cosy and I like the spirit of it. If only we could make a Ravelry for archaeologists…. :p

But back to the group – I think of them as my sort of extended knitting family. All lovely people, who come together for something they love and it doesn’t matter what else you do, where you work, age or experience. You only have to share as much as you want, and the escape from everyday life is lovely. The TT knitters have knowingly and unknowingly helped me through some really difficult/upsetting/stressful events without even knowing. Sometimes, knitting group gives strengh to get on with life when you can’t find it anywhere else. On call help for projects is nice too!

Finding a new cafe that will be willing to take up to 25 people at a time, who can quite easily take over the place with yarn and cake is hopefully not going to be too much of a challenge. We are trying out some places on a trial basis this month but any ideas would be welcomed.

Needs to be: in Edinburgh city centre (ish), space for up to 25 folk and their knitting, buggy accessible and have yummy tea, coffee and cake. Optional: wifi, comfy chairs!

Any ideas?